Principles upon which intraoperative spinal navigation is based

What are the principles upon which intraoperative spinal navigation is based?

Intraoperative spinal navigation is based on the principles of stereotaxy , which refers to localization of a specific point in space using a 3D coordinate system.

Spinal imaging data and anatomic data from the surgical field are defined within separate 3D Cartesian coordinate systems and specific points within each dataset are matched using mathematical algorithms. Establishment of a spatial relationship between spinal imaging data and anatomic data from the surgical field is created through a process referred to as registration .

Various registration methods have been described, including paired-point registration, surface-matching registration, and automatic registration. The aim of intraoperative spinal navigation is to track surgical instruments and spinal anatomy in the operative field in relation to a registered reference point. This is commonly performed using marker spheres attached to surgical instruments and a reference frame that is fixed to bony landmarks outside the immediate operative field.

A camera is used to track the position of surgical instruments and spinal implants with respect to the reference frame and the resulting data is transmitted to the workstation where the data is processed for display.

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